Plot to amend House Rules on speaker’s election thickens
• ‘Reps PDP caucus yet to endorse any aspirant’
• Ita-Giwa cautions lawmakers on choice of leaders
AS the contest for the position of speaker of the House of Representatives gets keener, there are plots by a group loyal to one of the contenders (names withheld) to amend its standing orders on voting procedure.
Meanwhile, members-elect of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday rose from an emergency meeting, asserting they are yet to endorse any of the aspirants.
Femi Gbajabiamila, Yakubu Dogara , Pally Iriase, Abdulmumini Jibrin and Mohammed Monguno are among those who have indicated interest for the position.
Mr. Teejay Yusuf who spoke on behalf of the PDP Members-elect, faulted speculations that they have endorsed one of the aspirants.
But a former Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, has called on members of the Eighth National Assembly to be independent-minded in their choice of leaders.
This admonition may not be unconnected to her wealth of experience as a lawmaker and as one who served two former Presidents as liaison officer and Special Adviser between the Executive and the Legislature, a period that witnessed positive and dynamic synergy between the two arms of government.
In a statement yesterday, Ita-Giwa underscored the need for cordiality between the Legislature, its leadership and the Executive in order to strengthen democracy and rule of law.
Specifically, it was gathered that a group loyal to the unnamed aspirant is said to be mobilising members to support a motion that will alter the voting method from secret ballot to open ballot.
Order 2, Rule 4 (f) (ii) of the House Standing Orders 2014, states that: “Voting by secret ballot shall be conducted by the Ckerk-at-Table using the list of the members-elect of the House, who shall each be given a ballot paper to cast his vote, with the proposer and seconder as Tellers.”
The motion, The Guardian learnt, was initially planned to be tabled on Wednesday but the plot was later aborted after it dawned on the promoters that they did not have enough support to push it through.
Again, the sponsors attempted to table the motion yesterday, Thursday when they demanded that the matter be taken under a supplementary order paper but the leadership, it was learnt rejected the moves after it emerged that the motion was not signed by the sponsors.
It was gathered that the motion would now be presented at plenary next week Wednesday.
A ranking member who sought anonymity yesterday disclosed that “They have planned to propose the amendment under matters of urgent public inportance on Wednesday but changed their mind after realising that it will be defeated.”
The lawmaker said the group was planning to “come under a substantive motion next Wednesday to propose amendment to the voting pattern from secret to open ballot.”
However, the aspiration of Hon Yakubu Dogara (Assembly (Bauchi, North East)) got a boost yesterday when two youth groups staged a rally in Abuja urging lawmakers to elect him as Speaker.
Under the aegis of the Northeast Unity Forum (NUF) and Nigerian Youth Against Political Sabotage (NYAPS) told reporters that their action was informed by the need to ensure justice and fairness in the distribution of leadership positions in the incoming Buhari-led administration.